What you don’t know will hurt you.
What does your computing capacity look like? What is your available storage? How many output devices are being maintained but not used? How many mobile devices are accessing your internal systems? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, then when it comes time to make an informed decision on enhancing your infrastructure you will be driving blind. At this point the vendor has the upper hand as they can manipulate the expected benefits. Having all the facts positions you for understanding all impacts.
What is your IT infrastructure?
In the “old days” one could just look at their budget and inventory to know what was going on in the system and infrastructure. Now with the Internet of Things, company business may be conducted on a smart watch, expenses entered via a phone, and demos performed via a tablet. Some of these company assets, many not. This allows great flexibility but opens the door wide open for security exposures and untracked costs.
Mergers and Acquisitions can muddy the system.
I once helped do an assessment on an energy company. They had grown over the years by merger and acquisition. There were output devices with labels on them from companies that hadn't existed for 10 years. No telling what was going on in the data centers and software stack. Often times the merger will drive just enough conversions and integration to keep things afloat, but plenty of equipment and software gets lost in the shuffle.
What are you really paying?
Contract forensics are often overlooked in the IT world. The deal is made, the system or hardware is acquired, and then the payment and contract management turned over to Finance. Many output contracts have overage clauses, cloud based computing can have many add ons, and outsourcers are legendary at “nickel and diming” customers. Need a little bit more memory? Sure – we can do that for you!
But the vendor will do a “free” assessment!
I’ve worked for some of the largest IT and output companies in the world. When a vendor gets an opportunity to do free assessment it is a license to market their solution. The study may be thorough but it also will be done to put their solution in the best light. The best way to have leverage when looking for a solution is to have an independent assessment. The phrase you get what you pay for does ring true, attaching financial value to the assessment will get your people engaged and insure the data is accurate.
We do RFP’s for all hardware and software solutions.
Many companies make acquisitions based on RFP’s with hundreds of questions and a rigorous evaluation process. The difficulty is often doing an apple to apple comparison as many vendors will be creative in their responses. The clearer you are on the current state of your environment, the more consistent their responses can be. Many companies include performing an assessment as part of the criteria, but again this is the vendor setting the base line.
Assessments are often overlooked or viewed as an unnecessary cost, but if done properly they will save you money and effort in the long run. Having a full grasp of your infrastructure and its cost will enable you to plan properly for future growth, and avoid unneeded capacity and costs.